As burning ash, drifting autumn leaves, and the imagined scent of unscented flowers transfix and capture our hearts so too does O, Unknown. An ethereal, hard to place wonder, this scent evades and invites definition. Black tea is a mist like apparition at the outset, a tannic, floral fog that rolls in to shield the more solid forthcoming elements in this scent from easy identification. Beneath black tea’s steamy veil, a tincture of lapsang souchong (a magical dose of milky, undiluted smoke) swirls, like a fiery hurricane from heaven: still, the stormy energy lapsang souchong generates never spills over its teacup, which is understandable when we ascertain that the substance holding this whole composition is, in large part, the strangely sturdy orris butter.
A compact, powdery essence combined with pure utter explains the brick and mortar-like impermeability of orris which is so strong it teeters on the brink of animalism–something in this root smells like leather. Kyoto moss (smoldering, downy, green and tendrilled) springs from whichever rare, minute cracks may occur in orris’ irregular body. Musk balsam is simultaneously sap sweet and as salty as fur, an arboreal musk that signifies balance.
Sandalwood, like a neon shower of verdant energy, zaps through the base of this scent to reveal the inimitable ‘???’ a note unknown–O, unknown! An exemplar of restraint and intrigue, O, Unknown! is a fragrant paen to everyone from Nietszche to Hawthorne to Christie to Murakami. A tantalizing, unsolvable mystery.